Joseph Leavenworth Bakali
During my spring semester in Paris, I interned at Peuples Solidaires, a French NGO committed to helping those struggling for their rights in developing countries around the world. It was my first time working for a NGO, and it proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging experience. My assignments mainly involved translating documents between English and French, although I was also given the objective of compiling the internal press review for the previous year. I felt that I was able to contribute in a significant manner to the work of the organization, and in addition, the staff were all extremely welcoming and were eager to make my time at the organization an interesting and memorable one. In addition, this internship provided me with an excellent opportunity to practice my French in a non-academic setting and to develop a professional vocabulary that could prove very useful in the future.
While I was in Paris, I completed an 8-week internship with Galerie Area, a contemporary art gallery in the 10th arrondissement. In addition to presenting expositions of local and international artists, Area doubles as a publishing house by printing books, most notably its trimestral revue in which experts affiliated with the art world discuss subjects of intellectual debate. As an English major, I have long had an interest in the publishing industry, and an internship with Area also seemed like an ideal way to explore an interest in visual art that I hadn’t yet acted on in a work environment. For the first two weeks of my internship, I wrote interpretative French-language descriptions of drawings done by Polish artist Franciszek Starowieyski, who served as the subject for an exposition by Area this April. For the rest of my time, I conducted ethnographic research that would benefit Area in its publication of a book on Native American art. This included investigating the origins of Native American artifacts and writing summaries on the purposes of specific tribal customs and objects. Throughout the eight weeks, I also completed several assignments in translation, converting French texts into English and vice versa. I very much enjoyed getting the chance to explore multiple interests of mine in a foreign work environment. The internship was also a unique opportunity to meet artists and critics from the Parisian area. At the same time, however, the internship occupied a significant portion of my schedule, and I would only recommend it to students who are comfortable having limited free time.
l’Institut Hospitalier Franco-Britannique
During my time in Paris, I participated in an internship at l’Institut Hospitalier Franco-Britannique, a hospital in Levallois-Perret. Through shadowing interns and physicians at the hospital, I was simultaneously able to learn the science behind the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, which interests me as a pre-medical student, and the differences between the healthcare systems in the United States and France. My internship also provided me with the opportunity to immerse myself in a French-speaking workplace. I feel that this diverse exposure to the medical field in an international setting will be an asset to me as I work towards becoming a physician.
Agir tous pour la dignité
During my spring semester abroad in Paris, I had the opportunity to do an internship with a non-governmental organization called ATD (Agir tous pour la dignité)—Fourth World. The organization’s main goal is the eradication of extreme poverty through a rights-based, collaborative approach which focuses on supporting families and individuals through a grass-roots presence and involvement in disadvantaged communities. An international organization, they engage with various individuals, institutions, and most importantly, in partnership with people in precarious situations, to create awareness of extreme poverty and influence policies which address it. Throughout my time there, I facilitated the planning and running of a workshop aimed at youth mobilization efforts among the poorest across Europe, built up social media presence of Djynamo Jeunesse project to highlight the organization’s work and facilitate productive exchange between its actors, archived primary documents, and translated text and videos from French to English. Overall, the internship experience with ATD Quart Monde was extremely rewarding and contributed to my personal, professional and language development.
Fondation Scelles – CRIDES
During my spring semester abroad in Paris I was able to do an internship at Fondation Scelles-CRIDES. This foundation’s main goal is to fight against commercial sexual exploitation in France and the rest of the world. Every year the foundation publishes a world report on sexual exploitation, which includes country profiles related to sexual exploitation and prostitution as well as chapters on subjects related to sexual exploitation. During the first few weeks as an intern my job was to help in translating the latest book from French into English. Afterwards, I translated their website as well as other important documents for the foundation into English and Spanish. During my last few weeks I conducted research on prostitution in Mexico and wrote a summary of my findings do that it will serve as an aid for the author of next year’s country profile on Mexico for the world report. Other work consisted of administrative work to help with the distribution of the latest world report in the United States. This was a great opportunity that gave me an inside look into the French professional life and added a lot to my study abroad experience.
During my spring semester in Paris, I did an 8-week internship at UNESCO. I worked with the Delegation of the Republic Palau, which is an island-state located in the Pacific Ocean. The UN declared 2014 the year of the Small Islands on Development (SIDS) since these nations’ cultures, economies and existence are threatened by climate change. I worked closely with the Deputy Delegate and I was able to attend meetings of the Executive Board during my training. I practiced formal French when attending meetings or communicating with several other delegations and ambassadors at UNESCO’s headquarters. As part of my job, I created an official country profile for Palau, which included information on the country’s ocean policy, culture, history, economy, tourism and the arts. I also created a mock project for the official website of the Delegation and launched its Facebook page to diffuse information about their work at UNESCO. Other projects involved translation of documents from French to English as well as some office work to help the Delegation prepare conference materials.
Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques
I interned at l’Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques, a strategic defense think tank in Paris. It was an excellent opportunity to apply and to enrich my language skills in a professional context. I translated English documents into French and revised English policy briefs written by Francophone researchers. I developed a new appreciation for the complexity and nuance of bilingual communication, as well as a familiarity with European politics that will serve me well in my academic and professional future. I feel that I made a tangible contribution to the IRIS team, and would be very interested to pursue work in a think-tank after graduation.
Musée en Herbe
I interned at the Musée en Herbe, an art museum for children in the 1st arrondissement. Primarily catering to kids ages 3 through 12, the museum puts up temporary exhibitions featuring original works from major (primarily 20th-century) artists. They welcome mostly school groups and families who come in for guided tours, as well as accompanying visual arts workshops. During my time at the museum, I gave tours to English-speaking families who came in, monitored galleries and explained works and accompanying games, assisted in and helped design curriculum for visual arts workshops, and translated contracts, professional correspondences and press materials from French to English. The people who work there are all really great, super nice and welcoming and helpful, and interning was a great insight into French professional life that I would definitely recommend to anyone considering living in Paris post-grad.
Centre Francoise Grémy
I worked at the Centre Francoise Grémy, a day hospital for adolescents with autism, pervasive developmental disorder or other severe behavioral problems. The center is at the forefront of the field and works especially to help adolescents who were not successfully treated/cared for elsewhere. The ultimate goal is to reintegrate the adolescents into society and the team uses a variety of activities and tools (dance lessons, weekend retreats, regular psychological evaluations, setting up internships) to help this process. As an intern I primarily observed activities and participated when appropriate. I also had the opportunity to observe a psychological evaluation, attend weekly staff meetings, and meet with head psychiatrists to learn about the diagnostic and treatment processes. This internship definitely added a practical dimension to my experience abroad and my study of psychology in the French system.
European Grassroots Antiracist Movement
During my second semester abroad in Paris, I interned with a small NGO, EGAM (European Grassroots Antiracist Movement), an offshoot of the larger and better-known French antiracist NGO, SOS Racisme. Being that this NGO is small and relatively new (created in 2010), I had the chance to perform a lot of interesting and varied tasks. On a day-to-day basis, I was in charge of preparations for a newsletter that EGAM will send out to political leaders at the European level (for example, in the European Parliament, the Commission, and the Council of Europe), which involved finding contact information for these politicians and studying and comparing existing newsletters of similar types and by member organizations of EGAM. However, I also got to do different things as the occasion required–booking a conference room in Norway, for instance, and calling French newspapers to find contact information. As an International Studies major (Political Science/French/Europe), this was an interesting internship, especially because I got to discuss lots of politics with coworkers during the electoral spring! Although this is probably not the kind of work I envision doing long-term, and it’s true that an internship does take up a fair bit of time, I had a great experience and developed wonderful relationships with my coworkers and fellow interns, so I personally think it was quite worthwhile.
To see more internships for credit in Paris, visit the following page of the main Middlebury site: http://www.middlebury.edu/sa/france/internships/opportunities/credit